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8-22-04 - FIRST MN Inland Trout Stream (this report is dedicated to "Steve", some anonymous ass from the Fatboard - heck "Steve" is probably just Chromeseeker having some fun!).

Waters Fished: Bee Creek, Waterloo Creek, Hickory Creek
Fish Caught: 3
Outing Date: 8-22-04
Weather: nice
Air Temp: mid 70's
Water Temp: Bee Creek was 50 F.
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Crystal.
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph, Midges etc..
Pattern Color: per the patterns
Fishing Quality: slow

I'm not sure how getting up at 7:00 AM qualifies as "sleeping in", but that was "the plan" for Sunday morning. Well, while everyone went off and ate breakfast, I actually put the phrase "Sleeping IN" to good use and waited until real late to get up. About 8:00 ;)

Brennon and I had a plan...a well-thought out, methodical plan. We learned a while back that north of Iowa, the Waterloo was called Bee Creek in Minnesota. We'd also heard that massive amounts of stream improvements had been done up there and that the fishing was arguably better than the IA stretches. Heck we fish 1 mile away from the state line all the time...we have MN licenses etc...we should try out Bee Creek someday.

Well recently some disparaging remarks were posted on the FATboard by someone who likes to call himself "Steve". To quote: "MP i dont know you but i see what you slobs have done to Iowa, so stay the hell out of Minn."

Apparently Steve must read the RR or something 'cause he at least has me nailed as the slob I am...i.e. the "White Dumptruck with IL Plates". What he doesn't know is that all my trash is in the Bitchin' Camaro vs. being "out there" like a TRUE slob would do. Steve also doesn't have a clue as to the amount of cigarette butts I pick out of the lint trap...better that I forget them in my laundry than leave them IN THE STREAM. Ya know, we don't recycle in Chitown (still boggles my mind) so I actually save all my cans and bottles and haul 'em to WI to recycle at my folks. Seriously. Anyway, if you'd like to read the rest of our pointless slam-fest, it's here for a while at http://amazingforums.com/forum/FISHFAT/588.html

8-22-04 - This is my idea of staying "the hell out of Minnesota".
(Copyright Brennon Schaefer 2004)

Now Steve and the rest of ya, listen up! As a general rule, if I'm already considering fishing somewhere and someone tells me to "stay the hell out" well DUH I'm gonna get there ASAP. So that's what we did. In the vein of that old Budweiser slogan, Steve, "this [first picture] is for you"! Afterall, as soon as I've finished off all the IA streams I gotta bring my own personal white tourbus to all the MN trout streams. A man with my passion has to have goals upon goals...otherwise it all just get's boring!

So OF COURSE Brennon and myself got to Bee Creek in MN just as soon as we could! Expecting to find the roadblock at the Minnesota Border Checkpoint (and me without my passport), I was surprised to see there was no gate, no customs agents, no guards, no barking dogs, no tire spikes, no concertina or razor wire, not even a chainlink fence! Heck this border crossing looks totally harmless...I bet I could just walk across. I did, and not one Minnesota resident came running at me brandishing weapons and shouting to let me know I wasn't welcome, I was trespassing and must leave immediately. Heck, one MN resident was so thrilled to have me in the state that he even offered to take my picture!

And to think I didn't even know that the communist government in MN had been replaced by typical American-Style Democracy and Freedom complete with open borders (I guess certain discontented minorities of the MN population still think they own the entire state or something and have a rabid misinformation campaign underway). When did this regime change take place? How did I miss this glorious news? Oh yeah...I was probably fishing in Minnesota that day.

Stream Access at Bee Creek was a breeze...the maps on the DNR website are great... ESPECIALLY if you utilize both the general maps AND the Winter Season C&R Maps (yeah, different maps!). We parked right at a stile...granted it looked like we were on private land WHICH we were, but just like in IA, the MN DNR negotiates angler access corridors and such. The cool part, at least on the map of Bee, is that you could probably put in at the top (or bottom) and work your way clear to the other access in probably a full afternoon's outing. You and 1 buddy is all it takes.

So I gotta get to the important stuff...the actual FISHING! Brennon and I had made it down to the first bend. Along our way we sighted two nervous browns running off. Crossing the stream was PAINFUL. YES, PAINFUL. Wet wading usually isn't a problem, but the water in Bee Creek was cold enough to sting after only a couple seconds of immersion. Yeah, I'm tough, if I stub my toe I laugh instead of cry. I seriously was cursing and wincing the entire wade.

We make it to the bend and fish for maybe 10 minutes...there's nice browns holding TIGHT on the bottom. Not feeding, not fleeing, just hugging the substrate. Rain breaks loose and I scurry to find a tree...the new digital camera isn't waterproof afterall. Brennon doesn't have a similar baby to take care of, so he just cruised downstream while I waited out the drizzle.

Bee Creek in the rain!

A large stretch of Bee Creek runs through cow pasture. It's cool to realize that this smaller water is really just the upstream portion of the Waterloo in IA.

As the rain subsided I caught up to T-Bone and we worked our way downstream through the pasture. Fish here, fish there, not very dense and all skittish. Average size to most, a couple large ones running for cover. The fish population was more or less the same as what you find downstream in the Waterloo with the notable exception of no "Stocker Rainbows" here.

So we're on private land, putting out long casts and standing back from the water to avoid spooking fish. We're not having luck but at least we're trying...right? Well we here small motors revving in the distance. As we fish, the get closer and closer. Of course if you've been reading the past couple months you can guess what's going through my mind...Minnesota Weed Whacker Massacre all over again.

Thankfully it turned out to be a couple guys on ATVs herding dairy cattle. Friendly guys who gave us plenty of room on the stream. I'm pretty sure it's in the MN regs where I noticed that harassing anglers on the stream is illegal....these guys weren't bothering us at all...just doing their thing on their land while being generous enough to let us fish it. So much for the unfriendly Minnesotans I had expected to find ;)

Brennon and I waited out more rain in the "forest" that was on the next parcel of land...as we crossed the stile Brennon pointed out the "No Trespassing, No Hunting, No Fishing" sign that hung on the fence, while right next to it was the "Public Fishing Access" signs and such. I figure the stile, the map and DNR sign outweigh the no trespassing sign 3-1.

We continued deep into the forest and all we found was shallow empty water. We got to a point where the path just stopped...so far we've only see a dozen or so fish, haven't tagged a single one, and it's already well into morning. Time to turn around and head back. T-bone took some last-chance casts at the larger browns to no avail. I briefly considered going deeper into Minnesota to try another stream or two, but we had a lunch date and didn't want to go back skunked.

Further downstream we found more vegetation (and shelter from the rain).

Despite looking great we didn't see many fish at all...

On our way out Brennon stopped to put in more effort on some fish we sighted.

We met back up with Fat, Pat, Chris and Morgan on the Waterloo...they hadn't done well either...1 fish between the four of them. Cripes that's a tough day anywhere, but on the Waterloo? Well, the opted to head to the secret spot while I opted to initiate Brennon to the Double Secret Spot. What is the "Double Secret Spot"? Twice as secret as the "Secret Spot". More or less we just have all sorts of weird names for the access points on the Waterloo. Maybe someday I'll make a map. What else can I say other than after two years of exploring something like 40 Iowa Trout Streams I know of only a couple places that are ALWAYS guaranteed to produce at least ONE BITE. The Double Secret Spot falls into that category.

As we approached I gave Brennon his choice...heads or tails (of the pool). Brennon opted for heads (poor choice) which left me with the loads of trout stacked among the suckers like cordwood (yeah, lots of folks say it but seriously, this time, it's truly applicable)! Even though the fish were abundant it took a while to figure out what I'd get my hit on, and as we've been finding everywhere else, ALL the fish were tight to the bottom. Chicago Leech did it for me...I should call it the clutch fly.

After landing a nice healthy rainbow, I let Brennon take the tail...took a minute but then he realized what was down there and remarked with excitement. He too had to go through the fly pattern routine...just like last week it turned out that a Prince Nymph was an excellent choice. T-bone landed his first trout of the day at 11:56 AM...if that's not a clutch catch I don't know what is. Regardless we'd be a couple minutes late for lunch.

Skunk is OFF...that's what the Double Secret Spot on the Waterloo is all about!

Skunk OFF for Brennon as well...here releasing a stocker bow back into the "Double Secret spot".

It never hurts to pay attention to the water even when leaving a location.


Just a lunch guest.

Lunch was hearty as always..FAT prepares a simple yet satisfying lunch spread every time at the Fly School. Pat had to head off, FAT was pretty much done. That left Me (1 fish), Brennon (1 fish) and Chris (0 fish). I too was itchin' to start making my way back, as was Chris. Brennon was itchin to fish a bit more...I was too, as was Chris.

While fishing in the morning B. and I had talked about Hickory and was a bit curious to see a new stream too. Instead of going to the old standby streams that are "on the way home", such as Paint, Little Paint, Silver Creek, Patterson Creek, Sny Magill, Bloody Run, Chris was game to try a totally unproven stream, Hickory was on our way back to IL/WI, so what the heck?!

Chris Redic joined us for some more scouting on Hickory and put us in our place with the first fish I saw caught that afternoon.

This time we'd go upstream from the bridge instead of downstream. Wouldn't you know it, Chris hooks up and lands a brown early on. Talk about luck...he just cast in and on the first cast in this spot his line shoots forward, he comes back and the fight is on. Chris almost loses the fish in some brush, but manages to get it into shore for the net. WHOOO HOOO, now Chris has broken the skunk. Awesome.

After some photos and quick release of the fish, Chris decides to camp the little pool he's found for a bit, while Brennon and I press on. It's slow going to say the very least.

Most all of the water is shallow and doesn't hold fish! B and I were lucky enough to hike way back and find some deeper spots along some limestone outcrops. They were big enough to hold a couple anglers, so again I asked B "heads or tails?" B chose heads (smart choice).

Sure is pretty, but man most all of Hickory is SO shallow.

More riffle/flat water on Hickory.

Pretty but pretty boring....as in "pretty boring".

To sum it up, B landed the 2nd trout out of Hickory....a robust brown that took at least 5 tries before finally ending up in the net. It would be Brennon's last fish of the day. He offered the head up to me....I had a flash but nothing else until I worked my way back to the middle of the pool, where a small brown finally found my fly.

T-bone shatters the boredom with a hookup.

A nice brown was Brennon's second fish of the day.

Pulled this little brown out of a deep spot.

Chris came up and found us as we were leaving this pool....he gave it a shot while Brennon and I pressed on upstream and found another pool...this one smaller. This time B called tails.

Alright this one ain't bad, but man we really had to work for our fish here!

After that last fish, I was "done" and T-bone put in a few more casts before calling it a day.

As luck would have it, I found my mark in just a few casts...a robust brown came to shore quickly from the gut of the pool. It was maybe 3:00 PM...I had worked over 2 hours for 2 browns. I was done...time to head home. B gave it a little more but soon caved too. Chris...yup..same story...it's been a tough week but it's still worth it. 4 Trout for 3 anglers in a combined 6 hours + of angling effort though...I can really say Hickory was worth it. I think Little Paint may have been a better choice.

Chris took off after this, while I took Brennon on a quick tour of the downstream areas to show him the farm stretch with it's high banks, rocky bends and plunge pools. We indeed saw one pod of trout in the same pool as the day before, but this was more just a "hey show me what you found yesterday" kinda hike...no more than 10 minutes down and back on water that I spent a few HOURS covering the day prior.

It's here that another Iowa weekend comes to an end. With Fall Runs just around the corner odds are you won't see any IA reports for a while, but that doesn't mean there isn't good fishing to be had in Iowa during the fall...heck it's probably one of the better seasons to be out Trout fishing! So if you're not heading to the Great Lake's Shores for the fall salmon runs, you probably owe it to yourself to enjoy the tranquility you'll find in the Coulee Region this autumn. Yeah...remember, unlike certain other neighboring states, Iowa's trout seasons is 24/7/365!

Going home a different way (that takes longer) and I can't believe what I'm seeing....

Maybe this sign I found on the way home is telling me I need to head back to IA soon?

  MP 

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